Labour Party crisis persists as state chairmen, Apapa-led faction clash
The crisis within the Labour Party (LP) took another turn on Wednesday when some state chairmen of the party had a clash with the Lamidi Apapa-led faction.
LP in a website post said some state chairmen of the LP denied Apapa and other members of his national working committee (NWC) from gaining access to the party’s headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
A group within the party made up of seven members of the National Working Committee (NWC) had installed the National Vice-Chairman (South), Apapa, as acting chairman, replacing Julius Abure.
They said they were acting on the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court which restrained Abure from parading himself as National Chairman of the party.
The court order also stopped the party’s Secretary, Farouk Ibrahim, and two others from acting as the party’s national officials.
Other party officials affected by the order include the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu, and the Treasurer, Oluchi Opara.
The restraining order was given by Justice Hamza Muazu while ruling on an ex-parte application argued by James Onoja, who told the court how the restrained National officers reportedly forged several documents from the FCT High Court in order to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last general elections.
Justice Muazu then ordered that the four individuals cease acting as national officers of the LP forthwith.
Apapa also last week declared himself as the LP national chairman following a fresh legal battle in the party.
In the wake of the development, LP state chairmen in the 36 states of Nigeria disowned the factional leadership, throwing its weight behind Abure as the party’s leader.
Speaking to journalists in front of the office gate, Kehinde Rotimi, state chairman of LP in Kwara State and chairman forum of LP in Nigeria, said trouble started when the group arrived for a meeting but were locked out of the secretariat.
“We have been here for quite some days now, for screening of some of our gubernatorial candidates for the forthcoming election in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo States. We were at the screening, yesterday, when we learnt that some people brought themselves to this office to do screening for candidates, when we heard that, we said that that is an aberration because they do not have the locus standing to do that.
“I am a member of the screening committee where we screened so many candidates yesterday, so I do not know how they manipulated one or two candidates to come here yesterday and impersonated some of the candidates. So that’s why we came here. On getting to our secretariat, we wanted to hold a meeting and we discovered it was under lock and key.
“So we met some DSS men and some vigilantes groups, some thugs and miscreants and they said they asked them to lock the secretariat. So in the course of discussing, the legal committee led by Apapa came around and were trying to engage us, and their thugs were almost attacking us and we resisted every temptation to cause commotion and crisis because we know the case is in Court.
“Anything in court you don’t discuss it and we don’t want to commit contempt of court and that’s why we now said okay, what do we do, let’s stay here. So they could not enter, we too, could not enter.”